Naked people in fiction

Why would one write about nudity?

The short answer to this is: because nudity is a part of life, no matter how hard most people try to conceal that. We’re born naked, usually shower naked (yes, usually, how odd it may sound) and many people sleep naked. Nudity is natural. People are part of nature (really!) just like animals, and no animal is wearing artificial clothes.

Cupid statue
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

It struck me that there is a lot of nudity in the visual arts (like in paintings, sculpture and occasionally in films) but nudity in writing, literature, fiction, name it as you will, is amazingly limited when you look at the amount of books that is published every single day.

Keep in mind that I am not including erotic or pornographic fiction in here. There are tonnes of books on those topics around but they are entirely beside the point here, as you may understand.

nudity: accessible and understandable

‘Aglow’, by Will Forest

I’m convinced that most people are at least interested in nudity. Often because it’s forbidden or at least intriguing. Forbidden fruits are often the best or so it seems. The books that Robert, Will and I (and many others) are writing are meant to make nudity accessible to everyone without the need for people to immediately try it. Going naked is the best way to understand the comfort and pleasure of it but for most people this isn’t even an option. The mere idea of exposing one’s skin to the air, risking others seeing them, is just too much. Having the safety of a book to learn about it is a good alternative for people, and with e-readers about more and more there’s not even the “shame” of having others see the cover of a work of naturist fiction. Shame, yes, because that’s how bad the state of the world is these days.

Reading educates.

I don’t want to be a pedantic teacher here but it’s proven that reading educates. When you read a book you always pick up something. Writing about masonry will teach you about masonry, so reading about naturism will teach you something about naturism.

I wish you many hours of happy reading, also about naturism. Preferably in the nude.

(Photographer unknown.)


8 thoughts on “Naked people in fiction”

  1. Thanks, Paul, for your insights! I like how we’ve been touching on some of the same themes and ideas among us, like the history of nudity in the arts and in writing. We’ve got a great conversation going on here.

    And thanks for including the cover of Aglow!

    1. Hi Will,
      I think it’s very important for everyone to see how we, the authors, think about the work we do and create, and how we incorporate that into our lives. I know of people who write in a specific genre ‘because it sells’. I know that the three of us write about naturism because that is important to us, and books are a great way to bring that out. 🙂
      I think ‘Aglow’ is a great example of a cover to use in promoting naturism, the naked body, without being ‘offensive’ to many a delicate soul out there. That, among other reasons, is why I chose it.

  2. To create good compelling fiction, authors need to create conflict. In my own life, nudist resorts are a refuge from the conflicts of every day life. People are friendlier, and we all go there to relax. So, to me at least, there seems to be a conundrum about how to create naturist fiction that is both true to life and included enough conflict to make a compelling story.

    I do appreciate fiction that just includes nudity as casual. I grew up reading Edgar Rice Burroughs, and his stories included a lot of nudity. But they weren’t about nudity. It was just an aspect of the characters’ lives (i.e. Tarzan) or of the society he created (Barsoom). Michael Valentine Smith, in Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, once he arrived on earth, had trouble understanding mankind’s insistence on always being clothed while in public. That just added to his character…

    Of course, I wrote The “Volunteer” based on an idea I had while modeling for an art class, so the central theme was public nudity, although I don’t know if I would call it a naturist novel. A lot of naturists have responded to it though.

  3. Thanks, D. H., for mentioning Edgar Rice Burrows and Valentine Michael Smith.

    I find it fascinating (and liberating) that another writer of seventy years ago (already!) and more was none other than the Christian apologist, C. S. Lewis. Perelandra is part of his science fiction series, a book in which the protagonists wander the planet un-selfconsciously naked; in The Great Divorce, a character gets off the bus and strides toward the City of God unashamed in his naked glory.

    Lewis also demonstrates himself sympathetic to pagan themes in That Hideous Strength, also part of the space trilogy, and Till We Have Faces.

    I doubt that Lewis would have considered himself a nudist/naturist. But I have heard that there is, near Oxford, a swimming hole where he and friends would happily go skinny-dipping.

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